What is an Orientation Year? And How do I apply?
Congratulations on your graduation! You must be proud and relieved at the same time because all your struggles, sweat, and tears have been paid off. You are now saying goodbye to your sleepless night, group work, and thesis! However, it turns out that you are not only feeling excited and relief, but you feel anxiety too.
“I have graduated, and now what??”
If that is the case, then we are the same. I am very grateful that I got a scholarship to pursue my master’s degree. However, it means that I have to finish precisely in two years. Otherwise, I have to pay the tuition fee on my own, which is ten times higher than the Dutch or other European students. Therefore, finishing my study in time is my priority, and it is definitely challenging to start preparing a plan after graduation.
“Do you know that the Dutch government is eager to encourage graduates to find a job in The Netherlands?”
Nevertheless, you do not have to worry. Do you know that the Dutch government is eager to encourage graduates to find a job in The Netherlands? Yes, after completing your master’s or bachelor’s degree, as an international student, you can apply for the Orientation Year, a.k.a search year, a.k.a Zoekjaar visa, which is valid for one year. This type of visa allows you to work and even build your own company. Interested? Here are the steps and other things you need to do if you want to start your career here.
1- You need to complete your master or bachelor programme first
To apply for this visa, you do not have to graduate officially. However, you must complete and pass all of your courses listed in the approved Study Program Approval (SPA). When applying, you are required to attach an IND appendix called Statement on completion of study. The first two parts need to be filled out by you, while the last part of signing will be filled out by the student service center (SSC).
2- Start to apply
Visit the IND website for more details information about the Orientation year in The Netherlands. If you are eligible to apply, you can click the button ‘Apply online’ and make sure that you have the documents ready. For example; scanned passport, scanned residence permit, Statement on completion of study, and amount of €171 in your bank account. You will also be asked about your BSN and V-number. (What is V-number? Then you can click the link here. In the details of your residence permit, the information of V-number stated in point 9).
3- Residence endorsement sticker
As soon as you have applied for the Orientation Year visa, you can collect a residence endorsement sticker at one of the IND offices. With this sticker, you are free to work without any other working permit. To collect the sticker, you can make an appointment online here.
4- Pick up your new residence permit
Now, you just have to wait for approximately two weeks to collect your new residence permit of the Orientation Year visa. I did apply for this visa, and I chose to pick it up in Wageningen, which was at the Expat Center Food Valley here on campus. It said that there will be a cost if we pick it up somewhere else besides the IND office. However, I collected my new residence permit for Orientation Year visa for free.
5- Take out a health care insurance
“The Dutch regulation obliges everyone living in The Netherlands to have health care insurance”
Another thing that you have to do is to take out health care insurance as the Dutch regulation obliges everyone living in The Netherlands to have health care insurance. Some insurance companies ask your city hall registration, and therefore it requires your address to be registered, i.e., AON. However, you can also apply for another insurance company that fits your needs. Check out this link for more options on Dutch health insurance.
Lastly, good luck with finding your dream job, or even build your own company!
Do you have any questions about the Orientation Year visa and other things related to that? Please leave your comment below ^^